Do you often not feel well after a particular meal or snack? Or maybe you don’t feel well after eating in general? It’s likely you could be suffering from a food intolerance and just not know it yet. There are so many people that experience symptoms and they can’t understand why it’s happening. This leads to taking pain relievers and other medications to cover up symptoms but never truly find the underlying cause. If you’re experiencing symptoms and you aren’t sure why, I encourage you to continue reading, as it could be something in your diet that your body is intolerant to. There are a number of ways to discover your food sensitivities, but the easiest way is through a cleanse.
The first step to identifying what food, or foods, may be causing you issues, is by eliminating a large number of foods from your diet. Most nutritionists recommend eating a diet of only fruits and vegetables in the initial, or elimination, phase.
According to Dr. Kimberly O’Brien, this elimination phase should last for 11-21 days, and you should eliminate all of the most common food sensitivities, which are dairy, all grains, eggs, corn, soy, legumes, nuts, citrus, and nightshade vegetables.
During this time, this will allow your body to cleanse itself of all of the ingredients in your food which may be affecting you. Continue the elimination phase until you feel better, or 21 days has passed. At the end of 21 days, if you are still experiencing symptoms, what you are sensitive to is likely still in your diet.
The Re-Introduction Phase
After the elimination phase, and if you feel better, it’s time to start reintroducing foods into your diet. At the re-introduction phase, it is critical that you only add one food in at a time. If you add multiple foods at a time, this could cause you to feel ill, and then not know which food caused it. For example, first you could add only eggs back into your diet. Then if you are still feeling great a few days later, add grains back in next. Experts recommend waiting 3-4 days between re-introducing each food, as this is the time it will take for your body to feel the full effects of the food.
If at any time during the re-introduction phase you start to experience your previous symptoms, it’s likely you’ve found the culprit. To be sure, remove this food from your diet once more, and wait until you feel better before you try re-introducing any other foods. It is possible to have multiple sensitivities, so even if you find eggs bother you, something else could bother you too, so don’t put everything back in your diet just yet.
Also, if during the re-introductions you have a reaction to a large group of foods such as grains, it may be important for you to narrow down your sensitivity to something more specific such as gluten, or quinoa. To do this, remove the item (in this case grains) completely from your diet once more, then introduce just one food from that group, such as rice, at a time, and see how you feel.
Embarking on a cleanse to identify food sensitivities is no simple task, and as you can see, it can take months to narrow down what is truly causing your distress. But it is worth sticking with it, because once you discover your food sensitivities, you will quickly be on your way to living a happy, and healthier life!
If you want to dig deeper into this elimination process I recommend reading “It Starts With Food” by Melissa Hartwig Dallas Hartwig. This book will take you through this elimination method so you can find the foods that will give you the healthiest diet possible. Our bodies are all made up differently, and it’s so important to feed ourselves with what is best for us as individuals.
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